Monday, December 29, 2008

How to Choose a Property Manager

Dear Property Manager:

I am interviewing several different property management companies for manage a large investment property that I own near Myrtle Beach. They each seem to bring something different to the table and I am not sure how to choose the best one.

Do you have any suggestions or criteria I should use to help me choose the best property manager.

Jackson L.
Myrtle Beach, SC

Dear Jackson,

Hiring a property manager can be a difficult task, especially if it the first time you have ventured down this road. However, It's important to hire a property manager that you feel comfortable with, and that includes what they offer in terms of services, but also in management style, experience, and cost.

The first thing to do is to determine your objectives. What do you want from a property management company? Write a list of all the tasks big and small you would like completed, including outlining the process for securing tenants, collecting monthly rent payments, eviction policies, tenant disputes, maintenance and repairs.

Next, you should research the potential management companies (or property manager) to find out as much information about them as you can. Review the websites and request referrals from friends and business associates.

Then, develop a list of questions to use when meeting with a potential property manager. You can include general industry questions and requirements as well as questions specific to your property and expectations. Some examples include:

--> How much experience does they have in property management?
--> What type of insurance(s), state licenses and credentials do they carry?
--> Does they have experience in complying with housing regulations?
--> Can they handle the accounting and billing aspects in-house, or will this be out-sourced?
--> What will the fee cover? (i.e. does it include marketing/advertising, or is that a separate cost)
--> How will the cost be determined? (i.e. flat fee vs. percentage the property income).

Finally, ask your attorney: Make sure any contract covers your best interests and includes all the terms you have agreed upon.

Please give us a call at 803.802.0004 for more information on property management. We would be happy to answer all of your questions.

Best Regards,
Property Manager

Friday, December 26, 2008

Do I Really Need a Property Manager?

Dear Property Manager:

I recently bought an investment property--the building my office was in (I am a CPA) and I have been renting out the units. This has become too difficult a task for me to do on my own, but I am not sure if the next step is hiring someone part-time (I don't think it is a full-time job...) or find a property management company.

Can you help give me some information on the benefits of hiring a property management company?

Steve N.

Dear Steve,

This is a great time to invest in property, but as you have learned, managing and maintaining that property can be quite an undertaking. We have compiled the Top 10 Reasons to Hire a Property Manager to explain some of the benefits for you.

Top 10 Reasons To Hire A Property Manager

1.) Money: Collecting money from tenants and making deposits can be a huge headache. Not to mention make you unpopular, or put you in an awkward position (especially since you have an office on the same property!) A property management company will have a proven and tested system in place to collect rent and maintain on-time payments.

2.) Legal: There is a many laws and regulations that you are going to need to abide by when renting and maintaining your rental property. There are local, state and federal regulations, and a property manager can help you avoid legal problems later by keeping your property current and in compliance with these regulations.

3) Rental Rates: A property manager can insure that your rental rates are competitive--they know the market and how your property stacks up, so that you can keep your investment full and bringing in cash flow.

4.) Marketing: A property manager will bring experience in offline and online marketing, as well as local direct mail, and other advertising opportunities. This will increase the exposure of your properties, and work to keep them filled.

5.) Inspections: A property manager will coordinate routine inspections before a tenant moves in and after a tenant moves out, which can find problems before they grow into huge expenses, and make sure they are repaired in a timely manner.

6.) Finding Tenants: Securing tenants can be a time consuming process. Depending on the extensiveness of requirements for your rental properties, a property manager can take care of securing all criminal background and security checks, credit reports, employment verification, and previous landlord references. In addition all tenant disputes, conflict resolution and emergency maintenance will all go through a property manager, who will involve you at his or her discretion. In addition,

7.) ROI: Most property managers charge a percentage of the monthly rental rate which can range anywhere from 6-10%, however, given the professional expertise and services provided coupled with time saved, gives you a positive return on investment.

8.) Time: A property manager handles the routine daily tasks of property maintenance, freeing you up to focus on your other interests and responsibilities.

9.) Distance: If your investment property is located in a different city, or state...or even across town, a property manager can handle any issues that come up, and be there without you having to make a long trip.

10.) Vendor Relationships: A property manager has relationships with the best vendors in town. You need to work with maintenance workers, landscapers, supplies and contractors, and you can leverage the property manager's experience to save time and money.

I hope that this gives you the breakdown of property manager benefits that you were looking for. If we can answer any more questions for you, please give a call at 803.802.0004.

Property Manager

Monday, December 22, 2008

Looking for Retail Property in Matthews

Dear Property Manager,

I read a recent article highlighting Matthews, NC and this is amongst the reasons I am looking at opening up my retail store in Matthews in 2009.

Is there a list of available commercial properties in Matthews online like they have for residential properties?

Cam L.

Dear Cam,

Happy holidays.

We have several properties available in the Charlotte area, including Matthews for rent or sale that may suit your needs. Check out some options on the properties page of our website, or give us a call at 803.802.0004.

Today we are featuring a "for lease" property at 343 W. John St. in Matthews , NC in the CrownPoint/Matthews Submarket at the intersection of S. Ames St.
This plaza has great traffic and visibility for restaurants, retail, office & professional users. The previous tenant was a billiards hall, so the existing space is set-up for a bar & billiards, with an easy upfit for a bar or restaurant space--but the potential to be much more, depending on your needs.
We look forward to hearing from you soon, so that we can find you the perfect retail space in Matthews, or another great location in the Charlotte area.

Property Manager

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Commercial Property Management

Dear Property Manager,

We own several properties around Charlotte, NC and are looking for a new property management company for 2009. We have some residential units as well as a retail center with over 40 tenants.

Can you manage both residential and commercial properties?

Wendell P.
Charlotte, NC

Dear Wendall,

Thank you for contacting The Kuester Companies.

The Commercial Property Management sector is a critical arm of our company, and it handles all aspects of property management including accounting, property maintenance, and asset management.

Kuester has experience in managing medical facilities, bank buildings, and apartment complexes, amongst others. As the property management company, Kuester acts as an administrator, or liason, to oversee the day-to-day operations of your commercial property. We provide financial services, communication, direction on policy development and asset protection--in short we look out for your best interests while managing all aspects of running the property.

As a professional property management and services firm, we have the ability to work at the beginning of a project with the builder/developer. Since we are a comprehensive services company, we have the versitility to understand the project from the ground up, utilizing the KRES development arm of the business. In this scenario, we have a cohesive knowledge and continuity during the transition to the commercial management services division of KRES. It is our honor to give you the peace of mind in knowing that whether we are coming in to replace another property management company--or if this is a new project, we can handle all aspects of the assignment.

Kruester can also supply a continuous evaluation of the maintenance of the facility, as well as identify and prioritize those maintenance needs effectively.

We pride ourselves on our extensive market knowledge, and strong relationships with developers. Should you choose to partner with Kuester, we will provide consistent superior customer service to you and your tenents, prospects and employess.

I hope that that answers your question, and we look forward to the opportunity to work with you. Please call us at 803.802.0004 for more information.

Property Manager

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Pros and Cons of an HOA

Dear Property Manager,

My wife and I are moving and considering a couple different neighborhoods in the Charlotte area. We have never lived in a community with a Home Owner's Association and a few of the options have them. There is a cost of course, and I am wondering if it is worth it.

Can you tell me a couple of the pros and cons of an HOA?

Bill M - Charlotte, NC

Dear Bill,

Simply, a HOA regulates neighborhood and the Home Owner's Association organization is run by members of the community who are charged with enforcing the neighborhood's rules. Many use a management company to help collect the dues and deal with the administrative details of enforcing the regulations.

HOAs watch out for the community and your property. But just as there are pros there are some cons as well, and HOA communities aren't for everyone.

Pros to HOAs:

1) HOAs provide you with the peace of mind that someone else is looking out for your property and the value of the property.
2) The value of your neighbor's property is also looked out for, as they are held to the same regulations as you are.
3) Many HOAs restrict changing the outside appearance of a home or property dramatically and outside the approved "look" of the community.
4) Some HOA communities come with amenities such as pools, ponds, walking paths, parks, club houses, fitness centers, etc.
5) HOAs can provide a sense of community, and give you the opportunity to participate in the organization with your neighbors.

Cons to HOAs:

1) Many HOAs restrict what you can keep outside at night, such as recreational equipment and vehicles.
2) You are required to take in your trash and recycle bins within a day and may not be able to store them outside at all.
3) Your landscaping and lawn care will need to be maintained per HOA guidelines, and this may include the types of trees and grass you can plant.
4) Some HOAs have very restrictive policies, so you will want to review the rules before moving in.
5) Some HOA restrict the amount and type of animals community members can own.
6) You may be restricted by an HOA if you want to rent your property.
7) You will have to get approval to do any major changes or upgrades to the property including patios, porches, pools, or additions.

HOA rules differ in each community and if you are considering one with a HOA, we recommend you get a copy of the HOA rules, and information on the management company before you make your final decision.

...Property Manager,

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Neighborhood Association Management

Dear Property Manager:

I have recently been elected as President of my neighborhood association, and one of the Leadership Team's first responsibilities will be to find a new Management Company for the Association. Can you give me an overview of your services?

Timothy M. HOA President

Dear Timothy,

First, congratulations on the election. Being an HOA President is a rewarding job, but it is also one that sometimes comes with a lot of headaches...


Our Neighborhood Association Management services minimize those headaches.

The Kuester Management Group, LLC manages mixed-use developments, town homes, and residential communities throughout North and South Carolina. We act as administrator or point-of-contact to oversee the day-to-day operations of the homeowner’s association by providing financial services, clear communication channels, policy development and asset protection.

We work with builders who initially set-up the HOA and management company, and any transitions that occur when the neighborhood is established. It is common for the Kuester team to deal directly with homeowner’s concerns or problems and act as mediator--since it can often be uncomfortable for neighbors to deal with the compliance of policies.

Please give us a call, or check out our website for more information. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you.

Kuester Management Group
HOA Management

Friday, December 5, 2008

Tenent Representation in Charlotte

Dear Property Manager,

I work for a large manufacturing company that is opening a division in Charlotte. We are looking for a property that will work for us, and know that we may have to build. Our timeline is 9-12 months out. Can Kuester assist us in this?

Brett M.

Dear Brett,

Charlotte is a wonderful place to work and live, and I assure you that you will find this a great place to do business. Kuester's KRES Tenant Representation Services provides tenant representation which I believe you will find unparalleled. We work in conjunction with our clients to conduct market research, market development plans and site tours. Our goal is to provide you the best location and best deal for your business. We offer the following services:

Site Location Services
Trade Area Analysis
Site Package Process
Approval Coordination
Contract, Lease Negotiation and Legal Coordination with Analysis

We look forward to the opportunity to work with you on your new location. Please contact us at 803.802.0004.

Kuester Property Management